Osteoarthritis is a gradually progressive chronic disease that we have to manipulate its symptoms over time through different management methods.
Depending on the degree of your Osteoarthritis, your physician will determine which method of treatment you are starting with.
Management usually starts with thorough clinical examination and requesting the important investigations such as hip x-ray or hip MRI. After that, you may begin with a course of medications and few physiotherapy sessions to enable stretching and strengthening the hip muscles. However, if this first line of management did not help with your hip pain, you will be offered a step forward which is injection of hyaluronic acid (HA) and platelet rich plasma (PRP).
Patients with mild – moderate hip osteoarthritis are most benefited with injection of HA & PRP.
To understand the function and the benefit from these injections, first we have to understand what does osteoarthritis mean and what does it do to the joint? Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease in which there is decreased joint space, joint bone changes and cartilage degeneration.
Basically, the HA is a gelatinous material which help lubricating the inside of the joint space; in addition, the PRP has platelet growth factors which help decrease the inflammatory process and the degeneration of the joint cartilage.
This question is the most frequently asked question and it is of valid importance! Because it has multifactorial answer. Multiple factors share in the prognosis or the outlook of the injection in patients suffering from osteoarthritis. First things first, patients’ general health condition. Whether they have other medical conditions or not. Secondly, the degree of osteoarthritis. Whether it’s mild, moderate or severe. As mentioned before, mild and moderate degrees of osteoarthritis are those whom benefit the most. Severe osteoarthritis is selectively chosen for another procedure called radiofrequency or surgery.
Best case scenario, when the patient’s general health condition is fine, he/she is expected to have pain relief from six to 18 months.
There are no side effects as long as the patient does not have any known allergies to the hyaluronic acid and the platelet rich plasma is totally safe because it’s taken from the patient’s own blood. And yes, these injections could be repeated each six to twelve months.
It’s a simple procedure that is done in the operation room under x-ray guidance, the estimated time for the patient to be inside the operation room is around 15 minutes. It’s a day-case procedure which means patients go back home on the same day, they get discharged from the hospital after one hour.
Each patient would be followed up closely by a pain specialist physician for at least one month to see the pain relief progression and to answer all the questions the patients have. Also, to provide them with all the information they need to be aware of anything that could exacerbate the patient’s condition.